Intermittent Fasting and Exercise

Intermittent Fasting and Exercise

Intermittent Fasting and Exercise – What to Know Before Starting

Perhaps, you have heard a lot about the effectiveness of intermittent fasting already. However, the truth is that everything is not as it seems – in a positive way. This means that while reaping the benefits of an intermittent fasting schedule is surely exciting; you need to do it the right way. Otherwise, it could take a longer time to see results or even fail to get any significant outcomes from your effort. 

For this reason, it’s pertinent to understand the program and associated tips. This includes the available protocols to consider, possible impact on your health, useful exercise to consider, and how to eat healthily during the intermittent fasting plan. All these pieces of information have been included in this article to get you started. Let’s begin!

Intermittent fasting: What is it?

If done correctly, intermittent fasting is a proven way to reset unhealthy eating habits. To be more specific, it’s an effective method to combat insulin resistance, develop calorie deficit for weight loss, promote healthy metabolism and help stabilize blood sugar levels. However, intermittent fasting requires a prolonged period without food, which is followed by a short period of taking a meal.

For those who hardly eat breakfast and seem not to get hungry till lunchtime, you might find it easier to include intermittent fasting in your plan than most. The reason is that morning fasting is already part of your daily life. Hence, the next focus should be on avoiding late-night snacking to get ready for continued fasting on a subsequent day. 

While intermittent fasting can be integrated into the routine of anyone, effort without guidance could be in vain. Thus, aside from learning from this article, endeavor to consult your nutrition expert to help develop a suitable eating pattern and fasting schedule for you.

Intermittent fasting plans that you can propose:

  1. Overnight fasting – This involves a 12-hour period of fasting daily. In other words, you get to eat dinner by 7 pm, then resume meals by 7 am on a subsequent day.
  2. 14:10 fasting – In this case, you are fasting for 14 hours while having a chance to eat during the remaining 10 hours. This is more or less like fasting from 7 pm to 9 am the next day.
  3. 16:8 fasting – Here, participants need to stay away from food for sixteen hours, then eat meals within the subsequent eight hours. This is similar to fasting between 8 pm and 12 pm. 
  4. 5:2 fasting – This plan involves eating as you would normally do for five days a week. Afterward, you are required to limit your calorie consumption to 500-600 calories for the next two days of the week. It’s necessary to spread the two days within the week.
  5. One meal a day (OMAD) fasting – In this case, participants eat one meal per day, which is the longest kind of time-restricted eating.

If you are starting intermittent fasting for the first time, it’s advisable to stay away from 5:2 and OMAD fasting methods as they are more suitable for experienced individuals concerning fasting. Instead, consider starting overnighting fasting plan, which is most likely to be similar to your existing meal time. 

Intermittent fasting: Benefits and Results

Intermittent fasting for women and men focuses on revitalizing the internal processes of the body. As long you are consistent with the eating schedule, you will stay energized, satisfied, and happy with the result. Below are some results and benefits to look out for as an intermittent fasting practitioner:

  • Blood sugar regulation

Here is one of the most important benefits of intermittent fasting. Eating raises blood sugar and consequently encourages the pancreas to release insulin to transport sugar away from the blood to the cells for energy production. However, intermittent fasting regulates the blood sugar and insulin levels by giving rest to the pancreas while fasting. With this regulation, it helps prevent the emergence of type 2 diabetes and other diseases associated with insulin resistance.

  • Gain a healthier weight

The most important thing about weight is to keep it healthy. When you fast, it helps you reach a healthier weight by confining your meals to a specific eating period. This supports avoiding overeating and results in a calorie deficit.

  • Better your metabolism

Intermittent fasting is a known method to kick-start metabolism. Ideally, it’s easy to regain weight in due time when you lose weight rapidly due to the hunger hormones, which are initiated by quick weight loss. Intermittent fasting prevents such a rapid change and keeps weight regaining minimal.

Intermittent fasting & Exercising

When you practice intermittent fasting correctly, it enables your body to exercise while fasting. This is because it will learn to tap into stored energy. How so? Food is the fuel needed to energize the body. A nutritious diet aids stamina and helps perform optimally. 

It is possible and safe to perform exercise on an empty stomach as long as you have prepared your body for a fasted workout. Several people are already indirectly fasting, especially those who often skip breakfast. Nevertheless, this doesn’t necessarily mean their body can handle intense workouts on an empty stomach.

If you want to exercise with fasting, it’s important to learn the most suitable plan for yourself. For instance, engaging in high-intensity cardio or weight routine demands higher energy sources. In this case, it’s advisable to save your workout till the end of your eating period. At this period, the blood sugar level will be high, and the muscles can absorb sugar from the blood for energy. In such a state, feel free to take a simple snack such as a handful of nuts or apples, especially if your body feels hungry. 

Ensure that you consider various methods to determine the most suitable schedule for your bio-individual needs. After your body has adjusted to fasting, start testing various fasted-state exercises such as cardio, cycling, and yoga. By completing these routines on an empty stomach, it helps train your body to tap into glycogen storage. The resultant effect of your workout on an empty stomach is the burning of fat.

Intermittent Fasting and Workout

Healthy physical activities that you can consider while fasting:

You can perform the routines above on an empty stomach as they are quite moderate. If you intend to engage intense exercise, you need to build towards it. In this case, you need baby steps daily to run faster or include additional push-ups. Regardless of your objective, ensure that your body is hydrated properly. Also, be conscious of any feelings of dizziness or fatigue. 

Understandably, most use intermittent fasting as a weight-loss tool. However, you can also use it to build your muscles by including proper macronutrients in your diet and engaging in weight training. The body performs better when you engage in high-intensity workouts a half-hour after consuming a nutritious meal. The reason is that the body will have an energy source to bank on – and not have to resort to breaking down muscles to find fuel.

Many weight training routines are best completed during the eating period. This helps get prepared for the workout. Also, it is suitable for recovering, especially with carb and protein-rich meals. If you want to improve your oxygen intake and boost your endurance for an intense weight-training routine, consider nitrate-rich foods such as citrus fruits and leafy greens.

If you intend to lose weight and/or build weight, learn to be conscious of your body and go for a physical activity that will challenge you without draining your system.

Healthy food intake for optimum workout results

Food plays a crucial role in getting results from a workout-fasting combo. Hence, consume whole foods that contain both micronutrients and macronutrients. This keeps the body nourished before and after a workout. While participating in intermittent fasting, it’s possible to eat fewer meals. Thus, ensure you get optimal value from the little that you eat. In this case, take time to plan your meals in relation to your workout or daily schedule.

  • Consider the following tips to help eat right:
  • Consume whole and unprocessed foods such as vegetables, fruits, healthy fats, and fish.
  • When you plan to complete a difficult strength-training session, eat carbohydrates to maintain blood glucose level during the workout and replace muscle glycogen.
  • A mixture of protein and carbs after a workout helps develop muscle mass and recover properly. 
  • Drink enough water to stay hydrated across your physical activities.
  • Take drinks containing electrolytes such as coconut water or consume a banana. This helps replenish the lost energy during the workout.
  • Speak with your health coach to adhere to your schedule.
  • Listen to your body needs and amplify your workout with a balanced, whole-food approach.

Intermittent Fasting and Exercise: a Conclusion

Finally, you are encouraged to do what’s right for your health. Keep in mind that there is no quick fix for eating healthily and living a healthy lifestyle. Instead, you need to make small and impactful changes to achieve your goals. Physical activities and healthy food will help nourish your body and mind. To integrate both with intermittent fasting, you need to be intentional about the effort. Also, ensure you seek the necessary guidance.

It’s also noteworthy to be gentle with yourself. Keep an open mind about reassessing your routine, especially alongside a dietician or health coach. This helps determine a fasting schedule that would fit you and your body’s needs in the short and long term. If you notice dizziness, weakness, or obsession with food, there is a good chance that you are not making the best decision for your body.

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